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Xi sends condolences over passing of Abe

By XU WEI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-07-11 07:15
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President says he'll continue working with Japan's PM on further improving relations

President Xi Jinping has offered condolences to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida over the passing of Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest-serving prime minister, who died at the age of 67 after being shot on Friday.

In a message to Kishida on Saturday, Xi commended Abe's efforts and positive contributions in improving China-Japan relations when he was in office, saying that he had reached a consensus with the late leader on building a China-Japan relationship that meets the needs of the new era.

Xi said he deeply regrets the sudden passing of Abe.

The president extended deep condolences on the sudden and unfortunate passing of Abe on behalf of the Chinese government and people and himself, and expressed sympathies to Abe's family.

Xi said he stands ready to work with Kishida to continue to develop a China-Japan relationship of good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation in accordance with the principles of the four China-Japan political documents.

Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, also sent a message of condolences to Abe's widow, Akie Abe, on Saturday.

In another message to Kishida on Saturday, Premier Li Keqiang expressed deep condolences over Abe's passing.

Li highlighted Abe's positive contributions to the improvement and development of ties between Beijing and Tokyo, saying that he had held positive exchanges with the former leader of Japan in their multiple meetings.

He said he stands ready to bolster communication and dialogue with Prime Minister Kishida and promote the sustained, healthy and stable development of China-Japan relations.

Abe was shot while addressing a campaign rally in the western city of Nara. The suspect, 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, was referred to prosecutors on Sunday on suspicion of murder.

Kyodo News reported that Yamagami had said his mother made a "huge donation" to a religious organization and he harbored a grudge against the group, which he believed was associated with Abe.

The shooting came two days ahead of Japan's House of Councilors election on Sunday, with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and coalition partner Komeito aiming to retain a majority in the upper house of parliament.

Abe, who was an LDP member of the House of Representatives, served as prime minister from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020. He became the nation's longest-serving prime minister by number of consecutive days in office. He stepped down from his post due to a chronic intestinal disorder.

China was the first country that Abe visited in his first stint as prime minister in 2006. He visited again in October 2018, marking the first official visit to China by a Japanese prime minister since 2011.

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